Mr & Mrs Guy Rasch
Many would agree that Heale is the prettiest garden in southern England. It sits at the bottom of a broad, chalk valley, with the River Avon and its leats flowing through. The house is Carolean, with substantial additions so sympathetically designed by Detmar Blow that it is difficult to know which parts belong to the original house. Harold Peto laid out the garden: you see his handiwork in the formal pools, terraces, balustrades and Italianate garden architecture. Alongside the river are more balustrading, old rambling roses and a lawn which is richly planted with hybrid musk roses and herbaceous plants. On an island in the river is a Japanese garden, laid out in 1901 and much altered by the sheer growth of the original Japanese maples: however, the scarlet lacquered bridge and the neat tea-house seem almost new. Perhaps the best part of the garden is the old kitchen garden, surrounded by cob walls and designed around 100-year-old box balls and tunnels of trained apples and pears. Here, over 30 years from the mid-1960s onwards, Lady Anne Rasch developed a wonderful series of mixed borders, exuberantly planted with roses, clematis and herbaceous plants, though her plantings here have recently been updated and intensified. Heale is one of those gardens that can genuinely be called a garden for all seasons; there are swarms of cyclamen in autumn, and woodlands full of snowdrops and aconites in winter.